Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pavia Sits down with 411 MMA Fact or Fiction

Originally posted on 411 MMA Fact or Fiction 03.26.08: Anderson Silva vs. Roy Jones Jr., JZ vs. Aoki, and Phil Baroni vs. Conditioning

Posted by Bren Oliver on 03.26.2008

Could the UFC's Middleweight Champion last three rounds against a former world champion boxer? Does Phil Baroni's heart outweigh his lung capacity? How should DREAM handle the "No Contest" between Shinya Aoki and JZ Calvancanti? Ken Pavia, MMA Super-Agent, takes time out of his hectic schedule to discuss these things and more as a special guest in this latest edition of 411 MMA Fact or Fiction.

Before springing off the board and diving into this week's "Fact or Fiction", I feel the need to point out something that should be quite obvious to the FoF junkies who click here on a regular basis. Call this week's diddy "Huck Fin'" if you will, as my esteemed colleague Michael Huckaby will no longer be handling the "Fact or Fiction" duties (though he did in fact submit the topics being discussed in this edition). Does this mean I will be playing the proverbial part of bread in this empty toaster and filling the vacant slot? My Magic 8-Ball tells me "Outlook Uncertain" as it's all quite up in the air at the moment. Time will sort those details out. In the interim, I'd much rather focus on the material below than the circumstances behind its delivery.

In an interesting roll of the dice, it so happens that this week's "Fact or Fiction" is also the first featuring a special guest who is none other than the leading agent in Mixed Martial Arts - Ken Pavia. Pavia represents well-known players in the sport such as Jake O'Brien, Martin Kampmann, "Razor" Rob McCullogh, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, and Karo Parisyan. You can learn more about his clients and what he's about by visiting his website, MMAAgents, or his MySpace. Acting as the yin to his yang in this week's "Fact or Fiction" is a talented young lad from the mean streets of Austin, another strange twist of's none other than the scrambled brains behind 411Mania's Monday-morning News Report, the Punch Drunk Hangover, me - Bren Oliver.

Also, in fairness to Mr. Pavia, due to time constraints we were not able to give him half of my responses as is typically the case with "Fact or Fiction". I knew I should have stayed the night at a Holiday Inn! I can only imagine what happened to the person I performed brain surgery on earlier today...

1. Anderson Silva would last at least three rounds in a boxing match against Roy Jones Jr.

Pavia: FICTION. MMA boxing and the sweet science of boxing are very different. Anderson should know this. He is 1-1 as a pro boxer. Even though Jones is a shell of his former self he would kill Anderson. This fight will never happen though, because the UFC would have to approve and why would they risk exposing their P4P best fighter outside his expertise? Perception becomes reality and he would be seen as fallable.

Oliver: FACT. In his prime, Roy Jones Jr. was perhaps the best pound-for-pound boxer on the face of the Earth, a title Anderson Silva currently claims in the realm of Mixed Martial Arts. The Jones Jr. of yesteryear would dismantle Silva in a boxing match and dispose of him in a prompt fashion. However, he's now 39 years old and hasn't won a fight by KO/TKO since 2002. "The Spider" has never been knocked out in his career and I see no reason why an over-the-hill Jones Jr. would be the first to deliver such a blow to Silva's reputation. However, I absolutely agree that Dana White is smart enough to keep Anderson out of such a bout, because the risk/reward weighs heavily in the favor of Roy Jones Jr. (and boxing in general). The only way I could see a cross-promotional fight approved would be featuring a boxer in his prime and a "plus one" agreement where said professional pugilist would also have to face Silva inside the Octagon at a later date.

Score: 0 for 1.

2. There is no excuse for conditioning as bad as Phil Baroni's in his ICON title fight last weekend.

Pavia: FICTION. How about this for an excuse... he thought he had good enough conditioning. Baroni was off for seven months. It was a main event in an electric arena and the adrenaline dump takes a huge toll on gas early. Phil was doing plenty of rounds and cardio in the gym, but that doesnt always translate to the fight. Take nothing away from Kala, he maintained a torrid pace and that contributed to the situation.

Oliver: FACT. I appreciate Ken's perspective and I believe he makes a good point regarding adrenaline's effect as a fight progresses. It is knowledge like this that differentiates those immersed in the sport and we armchair Mixed Martial Artists who have never stepped foot into a training center or fenced-in ring (other than for perhaps a photo op with a scantily clad ring girl). However, Baroni has been in bigger arenas and more significant bouts than was the case on March 15th. I don't buy him being adversely affected by the atmosphere. Were we talking about Kala Kolohe Hose I might give that argument more consideration because it was his biggest fight to date and happened to be in front of his fellow Hawaiins. But, back to Baroni, the outspoken New Yorker has been fighting professionally for more than seven years while gracing the PRIDE ring and the UFC Octagon. The Neil S. Blaisdell Center isn't Saitama Super Arena, know what I mean?

"The New York Bad Ass" can attribute more than half of his losses to bouts that dipped into the final round. He's 0-5 in said contests. I like Baroni and think he is one of the sport's genuine assets based on his showmanship, heart, and style of fighting. One of my favorite quotes of his was when, in reference to Frank Shamrock, he said, "He's a retard, to be honest." However, until he learns to pace himself and conserve energy for later rounds, I think he'll continue to have problems in bouts where his opponent can take it into the later rounds. Perhaps he did have the conditioning to go twenty-five solid minutes. If so, like the number of licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, the world will never know. But, at the end of the day, it's inexcusible for a man with his experience in not only MMA, but kickboxing and traditional boxing, to end up gassed three-and-a-half minutes into the first round. Perhaps I'm being harsh, but it's only because I see Baroni has having a tremendous amount of potential where he could literally be twice the MMA star he is with a few minor tweaks in his approach to fighting.

Score: 0 for 2.

3. That said he deserves some credit for having the heart to go another 15 minutes with no gas in his tank.

Pavia: FACT. Has there ever been a boring Baroni fight? He is to MMA what Gatti is to boxing. You always get your moneys worth. He will never quit or tap. He always has that puncher's chance and believes, sometimes until his last breath, that he is going to win.

Oliver: FACT. Ken said it as good as anyone could and I whole-heartedly support his comparison of Baroni to Gatti (and not just because they're Paisanos). I admire Phil's drive and determination. He's like the Black Knight from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". You could chop Baroni's arm off, but he'd keep on fighting while saying it's only a flesh wound. Win or lose, he of short, sequined-robe fame isn't afraid to leave it all in the ring and I have a great deal of respect for his "never say die" attitude. I would call it a "never back down" style of fighting, but I don't believe Baroni ever trained with Djimon Hounsou...

Score: 1 for 3. It was looking grim, but suddenly we've got ourselves a decent day at the plate!

----SWITCH IT UP----

4. Shinya Aoki and JZ Calvancante should be immediately rematched in the DREAM Grand Prix quarterfinals.

Oliver: FICTION. I agree that they should immediately be rematched, but the tournament needs to continue as-is to maintain its legitimacy. If they need to select a suitable replacement to fill the quarterfinal spot of Aoki/Calvancante, there are about fifty skilled Lightweights out there who aren't under Zuffa contract.

To mo me, there's no reason Aoki can't take on the American Top Team blue-chipper in a fight completely independent of the Grand Prix. Each has the overall talent and professional reputation to sell the bout as a co-headlining main event (especially to a Japanese audience). Nobody wanted to see their Grand Prix showdown to result in a medical stoppage, but injuries are just one of the many factors involved in MMA competition and there's no reason both men should get a bye to the next round simply because their bout played out as it did.

Pavia: FACT. It was nothing less then dissapointing. I will watch it... one more time at least.

Score: 1 for 4.

5. While the NBC/Strikeforce deal isn't groundbreaking, we're at a stage of more is better when it comes to the sport on television.

Oliver: FACT. ...especially on network television. It's unfortunate the deal isn't said to involve the broadcasting of live Strikeforce events, but at least a partnership between the two companies lends itself to the possibility of such happening. I'd say it's very possible NBC is simply waiting to see what kind of ratings CBS draws with the initial EliteXC event before pulling the trigger on a live Strikeforce show. Regardless, the "highlights" program NBC intends to air will still expose viewers to some solid Mixed Martial Arts action and I can only see that as being a positive. I have known a number of people who dismissed the possibility of ever having an interest in watching MMA on a regular basis...until they actually saw it for the first time.

Pavia: FICTION. It is ground breaking. If the UFC does really well in a PPV they get 600,000 buys. If Strikeforce falls on their face they will get a couple million. It also appears to be a gateway to primetime and weekend fights. It gets the foot in the door. It should also help attract main stream sponsors. The flood gates are about to open.

Score: 1 for 5. Did anyone else just hear a "CHA-CHING" sound after reading that last sentence?

6. Paulo Filho's sudden emotional problems have something to do with getting off of steroids.

Oliver: FICTION. Without Sherk-like evidence I find it hard to say for certain that Filho used performance enhancing drugs. It's a possibility but far from being an absolute. I think a more likely suspect, if illegal substances are involved, is the use of recreational drugs given the lifestyle that surrounds certain circles in Mixed Martial Arts. The guy rocks a sleeveless flannel shirt to every fight. Is it really so hard to believe he's hooked on some other substance turning his brain into gravy? But on a serious note, only Filho and his friends/family know the truth, and I'm completely respectful of their right to maintain his privacy. People in every walk of life run into hard times where emotions can become overbearing. I only hope Filho overcomes whatever issues he's dealing with and returns to being one of the top Mixed Martial Artists out there.

Pavia: NO COMMENT. I would never speculate as to a man's use of drugs without some first hand proof. Not only is that not fair to the athlete but it is also potentially actionable. I will say that most fighters do have screws loose and it does not surprise me at all. I also dont know enough about the emotional effects of steroids to speculate.

Score: 1 for 6. While we nearly ran into a dreaded goose egg this week, it does seem as though we're on the same page with this last one even if the phrasing is different.

Thanks for joining us! Make sure to check out Ken Pavia's sites as well as the genius that is the Punch Drunk Hangover! Self-promoting rules!

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